MBB: Iowa vs. IPFW Preview / Prediction
By Justin VanLaere
The Iowa Hawkeyes men’s basketball team looks to rebound after back-to-back losses today inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This will be the sixth game for the Hawks in the past two weeks, as Iowa has had a game every third day to open the season.
IPFW Mastadons (2-1) vs Iowa Hawkeyes (3-2)
POMEROY RATINGS: Iowa – 104, IPFW – 207
RPI: Iowa – 131, IPFW – 183
Tip Off: Saturday, November 26th 2011; 12:07 PM CST
Iowa City, IA – Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500)
TV: Mediacom, BTN2GO, video.BTN.com.
Radio: AM 600, 1040, and 800.
This is the first time these teams have ever met.
LINE: There is no line for this game. Pomeroy predicts an 11 point win for Iowa.
PG – Bryce Cartwright, 6’1”, 188 lb, SR
G – Matt Gatens, 6’5”, 212 lb, SR
G – Eric May, 6’5”, 217 lb, JR
F – Melsahn Basabe, 6’7”, 225 lb, SO
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C – Devon Archie, 6’9”, 222 lb, SR
G – Jonny Marlin, 5’10”, 170 lb, FR
G – Frank Gaines, 6’4”, 195 lb, JR
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G – Jason Smeathers, 6’8”, 210 lb, SR
F – John Peckinpaugh, 6’5”, 225 lb, SR
F – Trey McCorkle, 6’10”, 235 lb, SR
The Hawkeyes are reeling a bit right now after back-to-back double-digit losses. I can understand losing to Creighton, they have a real good shot of winning the MVC and being a tourament team come March. Right now, they are shooting the lights out, not many teams are even competing with them. The Campbell loss is a bit more concerning, but you can understand why it happened. A guy like Eric Griffin comes in and makes all but one of his 11 FG attempts and puts up a double-double. Iowa’s interior defense (or lack thereof) was exposed once again. The Camels shot over 60% in the game, another disturbing trend of the past two games. Either way, Iowa should not be losing to a Big South team (even one that will likely win their conference and go to the Dance).
IPFW has yet to beat a B1G team in seventeen tries. Back in 2005, they came within 10 points of the Boilermakers inside Mackey Arena. The Dons have only competed in three games so far, losing by 20 points on the road to Xavier, while beating Nebraska Omaha and Judson at home. IPFW lost two big time contributors from last year’s 18 win team and that will be very difficult to replace. Former head coach, Dane Fife, has abandoned the program to hook up with Izzo up in Michigan State as an assistant. New coach, new point guard, loss of major-contributing seniors should make it a challenge for this team to be a serious contender in the Summit League.
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KEYS TO GAME FOR IOWA:
– Who’s Guarding Frank Gaines? Whomever it is, they will have a tough task, one that will likely take away from their effectiveness on the offensive side of the court. My guess is that man will be Matt Gatens. A tough assignment indeed. If Gatens can hold Gaines to under 20 points, that’s a good job. However, as I mentioned, D’ing up Gaines will like take its toll on Matt’s offensive effectiveness. Right now, Iowa needs Matt to continue to put the ball in the bucket for them to win. Something will have to give one way or the other.
– Brommer Needs to Log Good Minutes. While Trey McCorkle isn’t the go-to-guy on the Dons squad, he’s the one that is going to be giving them 2nd chances and an inside presence. If there’s anything we’ve seen from this Hawks team, it’s that inside defense and rebounding from the 4 and 5 spot has been inconsistent at best. In order to get those minutes, Andrew will need to stay out of foul trouble, another challenge in itself. If the injury allows him to, Iowa really needs 25+ minutes out of him. McCorkle already has two double-double in three games.
– The Point Guard Matchup. Senior Bryce Cartwright vs. Freshman Jonny Marlin. Cartwright has been sick/injured to start the season, something that has dramatically affected Iowa’s ability to get the offense going. Iowa needs him to be full-strength and able to log 34+ minutes a game. Marlin is a guy who played with Cody Zeller on the Indiana Elite One AAU team and has some good potential. Smart on the court, good on-ball defense. He hasn’t shot the ball very well so far in his short college career, but he is doing a decent job of running the team and getting the ball to the scorers on the team. It will be interesting to see if Bryce is closer to 100% and if he can take it to the frosh.
– Play With Passion. Coach McCaffery wants the fans to come back to the program. Iowa fans want a product that is exciting to see and that is showing improvement. The past two games haven’t given Iowa fans either. Melsahn Basabe continues to look like he is sleepwalking on the court. Eric May has fallen back to his days of inconsistency. Andrew Brommer can’t get healthy or stay in games when he is able to play. The freshmen seem to play like freshmen more often than not this early in the season. Things happen. Players get sick. Players get hurt. Teams go on run. Games are lost. Those things happen. The one thing that will allow fans to be a bit more forgiving is if the players give it their all, however it appears that during some parts of the game, this team is lacking passion and a “want to” on the court. Fran has tried to light a fire underneath his players recently, I hope we see a change today. If the rest of the squad can get behind Matt Gatens and his drive/passion, we might see some changes to how the team plays and how much it succeeds.
PREDICTION: Iowa didn’t reach the 65 point plateau in either of the its last two losses after averaging over 90 points in its first three games. The caliber of opponent certainly played a part in that statistic. I think you’ll see Iowa bounce back in this game, though. That said, if Iowa shoots the ball the way they have the last two games, it could spell trouble for the Hawks. A loss in this game will certainly throw some doubt on the rest of the season. FINAL SCORE: Iowa 84, IPFW 69